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GFCI Receptacle Installation Steps

How to Install a GFCI Outlet

Every home has electrical receptacles, also called outlets, scattered throughout the interior. These outlets are small plates installed into walls, and we use them daily to plug in our televisions, lights, appliances, phone chargers, and much more. Outlets provide easy access to electricity, but with electrical devices, there is a certain amount of safety that should be considered.

GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter. GFCI outlets are safety outlets designed to prevent electric shock by monitoring the current flowing through the receptacle when devices are plugged in. If there is a dangerous imbalance, the outlet will react immediately and trip the circuit to discontinue the current.

Safety Precautions to Keep in Mind before Installing:
Always make sure the power is off before you start doing any electrical work in your home. Go to your circuit breaker box or fuse box to do so.
Have any materials or equipment ready before you begin. Make sure they are the exact products you need. In this case, confirm that the GFCI amp rating matches the rating of your circuit breaker or fuse box.
Using tools with rubber handles or grips, and wearing rubber-soled shoes are good practices to avoid electric shock.
Taking a photo of how the wiring looks inside of your outlet before you do any work can help you figure out how to put it back properly when installing the new GFCI.
Do not try to install a GFCI outlet for large appliances like fridges or freezers that could trip without you being aware.

Installation:

1. Remove the wall plate. Simply unscrew it and place it on the floor next to you.

2. Use a circuit tester to make sure that there is no power flowing through the outlet. A circuit tester, also known as an outlet or receptacle tester, can be purchased from a home improvement store at a relatively inexpensive price.

3. Remove the mounting screws and take out the outlet switch. Disconnect the wires on the back.

4. The space you removed the outlet from is called the wall box. Separate the wires coming from the wall box by dividing them into two pairs. The first set is the power supply (line) and the other being the wires that carry power to your other outlets that are running on the same circuit (load).

5. Make sure the wires are positioned so they do not touch each other. Go to your circuit breaker or fuse box and restore the power.

6. Once again, use the circuit tester to see which set of wires carries the electricity. Afterward, turn the power back off.

7. Using your new GFCI outlet, connect the line wires with the line terminal and the load wires with the load terminal.

8. White wires should be connected to the outlet’s sliver screws, and the black wires should go to the gold or brass screws. The ground wire, which is bare, should connect to the green screw.

9. Once all of the wires are connected, fit the outlet back into the wall box. Screw everything back into place and replace the outlet cover.

10. Now it’s time to test your work. Turn the power back on and plug a device into the outlet that can visibly be seen being shut off (such as a light or radio). Press the black button on your GFCI outlet. If the device turns off, that means the new outlet is working. Now press the red reset button. If your device turns back on, your outlet installation was a success!

If you find that your at-home installation doesn’t seem effective, go over your steps to make sure you did everything correctly and reaffirm that you have the right amp rating. If your outlet still isn’t working properly, call a certified electrician and have them come check it out. Likewise, if you found that your wall box was too small for your new GFCI outlet, a professional would likely have to be called to perform the installation for you.

GFCI outlets are a great way to make you and your home safer. In fact, in newer homes, the presence of GFCI receptacles are often required in specific rooms. When in doubt, have a trusted electrician do a routine inspection to determine whether the installation of GFCI outlets is necessary to keep you safe and up to code.

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